What are the sources of internal and external motivations for people’s action? Xu Zhijun 24087
Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Motivation is the reason of people starting, directing and maintaining activities， not the result (Zimbardo, Johnson & Weber, 2000).The reason why people take action can be different; basically there are two big aspects: internal and external motivation. Internal motivation is to do something for your own sake. It can be your personality interest or the value which you pursue; it’s very similar with intrinsic motivation. The external motivation is to do something for other’s sake. It sounds similar with extrinsic motivation, but it is a different concept which I will present precisely. I suggest if people want to change or maintain some particular behaviors, the best way is to transfer the external motivation into internal motivation. According to Maslow’s humanistic theory (1943), there is a pyramid of needs wait people to fulfill. The first level: biological aspect, needs for food, water, oxygen, rest, sexual expression, release from tension. People look for food to eat when they are hungry or they are under big pressure, food can help them release the tension at the moment. And people choose dance, sing or talk to their close people to release their tension as well. People sleep when they are tired. People have sexual life because they have sexual drive. Each organism seek a state of balance – homeostasis. (Hull, 1943, 1952). The second level is safety. It means needs for security, comfort, tranquility, freedom from fear. When facing threaten, may hurt, people will automatically try to avoid. Seeing a sharp blade falling down, people will evade. Anthony Robin said, “I’m scared, so I have to take action right now – run to the direction which I want.” The third level is attachment. It means needs for belong, to affiliate, to love and be loved. Human are social animals, that’s the reason people don’t want loneliness. When people feel lonely, they meet friends, talk to others or even will make more effort to keep in contact with others. People need love others and in turn they need to be loved. The forth level is esteem. It means needs for confidence, sense of worth and competence, self-esteem and respect of others. People need others’ acceptance. People need confidence. Without confidence, people couldn’t accomplish any goals. So people are seeking ways to be confidence. People positively take action to prove they are not worthless in this world. The fifth level is self-actualization, it means needs to fulfill potential, have meaningful goals. When people meet all four levels described above, they pursue the value of life by self-actualization. These are the nature of human being. These points we can call internal motivation; people are born with this priority oriented character. People take action for pursuing the pleasure and avoiding the pain(Epicurus 341BC), and avoiding the pain can be more influential on people’s action. The reason of people cannot be motivated to act is just his need for happiness is not big enough; he can still hold the pain of threatens.（Mood Story, August 30th, 2007）. Consider how the self influences our memory, a phenomenon known as the self-reference effect: when information is relevant to our self-concepts, we process it quickly and remember it well (Higgins & Bargh, 1987; Kuiper & Rogers, 1979; Symons &Johnson, 1997). The more self-relevant, we connect outside with ourselves, the more effectively on our behaviors. Whatever the reinforcement is, if we take it to our mind, analyze it, and then digest it, it would work efficiently next time, and we may be more motivated. Based on locus’ control (Rotter 1973), people are divided into two aspects, one is internal and the other one is external. The internal people believe they control their own destiny. They contribute the fault to themselves and more self centered. The external people feel chance or...
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